Win friends and influence people

My summary and notes on Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Dealing with humans is a challenge both in business and personal life. I sometimes feel that people go straight ahead on their high-speed train and don’t take the time to stop for a moment to listen to others.

While the title “How to Win Friends and Influence People” of Dale Carnegie’s book may sound opportunistic or pushy, I have discovered that it’s an open call to empathize and listen to people around us. More than ever, these principles are essential in the world we live in today. That’s why I’m sharing my notes on this book in this article.

Dale’s book is the kind of book with immediate life-changing actions. It makes this quote all the more true:

Reading good books is like engaging in conversation with the most cultivated minds of past centuries who […] reveal to us only the best of their thoughts — René Descartes

The book gives principles for mastering the fine art of human relationships. These principles may appear evident at first glance but are challenging to practice.

As an innovation leader, you may find these principles particularly useful. Indeed, your job is to get your team and leadership to buy into your long-term vision, push the boundaries and upset the status quo. Dale’s principles will help you:

  • Arouse enthusiasm among your team and stakeholders.
  • Rally them to your long-term vision.
  • Give them frank feedback without affecting their motivation.
  • Deal with contestation, opposing opinions, and different ways of working.

I apply these principles at every opportunity and track my progress.

So what are Dale’s principles? There are several that I tried to cluster by themes.

#1: People want to feel important

  • Let them realize that you recognize their importance sincerely.
  • Give them honest and sincere appreciation and recognition.
  • Give them a fine reputation, so they do a job that lives up to the traits you attribute to them. Inspire them with a realization of their latent possibilities.
  • Remember their name and repeat it during a conversation.
  • Appeal to the nobler motives when you want them to do something.
  • Don’t criticize them as it wounds their precious pride. Use praise instead. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  • If you still have to criticize them, start with an honest appreciation, call attention to their mistakes indirectly, or talk about your own mistakes. Let them save face.
  • Keep a disagreement from becoming an argument by listening to their ideas, showing respect, and looking for areas for agreement.
  • Avoid any awkward flattery.

#2: People are interested in themselves and their wants

  • Be genuinely interested in others. Do things that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you — Dale Carnegie

  • To persuade people to do something, talk about what they want and show them how to get it by doing what you want them to do. Even better: make them think that the idea came from them.

If there is any art of human relationships, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own. — Henry Ford

  • Be an attentive listener. Encourage them to talk about themselves, the things they treasure most, and their problems. Ask questions that they will enjoy answering. Don’t interrupt.

#3: People like kind and gentle people

  • Smile.
  • Praise the slightest improvement.
  • Start a conversation in a friendly way in any circumstance. Begin by emphasizing the things you agree on and get them to say “yes” immediately. Avoid a first “no” response.
  • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders to make your orders more acceptable and stimulate people’s creativity.
  • If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

Let’s apply these principles, listen to people around us, and improve the world.

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